Book Discussion: The Brothers Karamazov

Mikhail Nesterov, Philosophers, 1917 (Pavel Florensky and Sergei Bulgakov)

When the debauched and brutal landowner Fyodor Karamazov is murdered, the lives of his sons are changed irrevocably: Dmitry, an army officer, gambler, and sensualist, whose feud with his father over money and a woman’s affections immediately makes him the prime suspect; Ivan, the intellectual, skeptic, and rationalist, whose spiritual torment drives him to breakdown; Alyosha, the Christian and monastic aspirant, who tries to heal the family’s rifts; and their sinister, atheist half-brother Smerdyakov. In the ensuing murder investigation and trial, Dostoyevsky’s dark masterpiece explores the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, and faith and doubt.

Writing in First Things, scholar of Russian literature Gary Saul Morson calls The Brothers Karamazov the greatest Christian novel: “In Dostoevsky’s hands, the novel became a theological instrument, a way to elucidate the existential meaning of the idea of the Trinity…God made us free, and faith must be a free choice in the face of doubt. The smallest acts of goodness make all the difference. And the only way to sense life’s meaning is to live rightly, moment by moment.”

On Friday, April 12th at noon, Undergraduate Instruction Librarian and professor of English Dr. Denise Crews will lead a discussion on The Brother’s Karamazov. The book is freely available online and as an audiobook. Dr. Crews has also compiled a list of resources and suggested readings on the Library website.

If you are interested in attending the discussion, either in person or online, registration is appreciated but not required. Registration does not imply a commitment to attend, but will make sure you receive all updates and reminders about the discussion. Click here to register.